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Today's Reminder

July 05, 2022 | Dhuʻl-Hijjah 5, 1443

Living The Quran

Civility
Surah Al-Taubah (The Repentance) Chapter 9: Verse 112 (partial)

"Those who observe the limits set by God."

Civility is preserving the limit between exaggeration and coolness, while being aware of the damage that may result from aggression.

It consists of three levels:

The first level is preventing fear from extending to despair, keeping expectation from turning into security and containing pleasure so that it does not equal boldness.

The second level is forsaking fear in order to enter the field of constriction, rising from expectation to the field of expansion and progressing from happiness to the field of contemplation.

The third level is being aware of civility, then dispensing with civility by experiencing the civility of the True One, then escaping from witnessing the burdens of civility.

Compiled From:
"Stations of the Wayfarers" - Abdullah Al-Ansari, pp. 128-130

From Issue: 731 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Purity of Intention and Motivation

Islam stresses the value of purity of intention and motivation and the need to cultivate this virtue in one's everyday life, and the sunnah gives us a practical policy of precaution to regulate our life and worship in order to preserve the purity and clarity of intent. This is obvious from the following ahadith:

Abu Hurairah relates that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Don't fast the last day or two preceding Ramadan, but if someone is used to fasting then he might fast." [Tirmidhi]

This prohibition of fasting immediately before the month of Ramadan is by way of a precaution, lest a man be uncertain whether he is fasting in Shaban or Ramadan. The hesitant attitude that results from this uncertainty is a sign of weakness.

Allah, the exalted, and the Prophet taught us we should satisfy our needs before we proceed to offer our prayers. This is so for it frees from distractions a Muslim's mind when engaged in worship, and thus promotes the purification of motives and intentions, which is a primary objective of both the Quran and the Sunnah.

Ibn Umar narrated that the Prophet said, "If you are busy eating, don't hurry but eat until you have had enough, even if the congregational prayer starts." [Bukhari]

In a hadith from Abu Darda, Bukhari says, "It is a sign of a man's understanding and insight (in deen) that he should satisfy his needs first so that he may concentrate on his prayers thereafter."

These ahadith are only a few examples that illustrate an essential and consistent teaching of Islam that one should confront and completely reject any weakness of will and confusion of motives. All such measures are meant to secure one's will against all kinds of weakness and impurities so that one would have only one end in view, namely, "Allah's pleasure and subservience to His command."

Compiled From:
"Freedom and Responsibility in Quranic Perspective" - Hasan Al-Anani, pp, 177-180

From Issue: 563 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Fear

Nurturing collective fears can directly affect the right of individuals, and equality of treatment. Centres of power (political, economic, military-industrial or media-based) sometimes decide to fuel, or even create, threats and dangers for national, international, economic and/or geostrategic reasons. The climate of fear and insecurity makes citizens accept measures that restrict the rights they have won, or even differential forms of treatment that are justified by the threat itself. There is nothing new about this strategy, but its strength is amplified by the power of modern means of communication. An enemy is created, his ability to do harm is demonized and the public is encouraged to draw the logical consequences from the situation: ‘You are afraid. We will guarantee your security, but in order to do that we must take exceptional measures keep you under surveillance, keep the enemy under surveillance and may sometimes have to encroach upon your rights, dignity or equality.’ The exceptional nature of the threat justifies the suspension of existing laws: fear is indeed the enemy of law. All dictators have, to varying degrees, used and use this method to justify their policies. What we are witnessing today with the ‘war on terrorism’ is of a similar nature and produces similar consequences: when fear rules and when security is under threat, rules no longer apply and rights can be reconsidered, personal integrity can be violated. Equality becomes a matter of wishful thinking, and the majority of the population, which is subjected to psychological and media brainwashing, gradually comes to accept the implications of the threat.

Compiled From:
"The Quest for Meaning" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 78, 79

From Issue: 787 [Read original issue]